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Gavotte with Variations 








Graceful Dance 

1 12 

The Harmonius Blacksmith 

1 18 

Hallelujah Chorus 



1 37 






H 3 
















H 7 








i <$3 



Illustrated by Mary Greennvalt 


f No part of this book may be reproduced 
in any form without permission in writing 
from the publisher, except by a reviewer 
who wishes to quote brief passages in con- 
nection with a review written for inclusion in 
magazine or newspaper or radio broadcast. 


For Harriett 


Putting down his unfinished boot, lame cobbler Nils 
hobbled to the doorway of his small shop. 

“Bell ringer, what child then, is lost in Halle on such a 
night as this?” 

“George, son of old Doctor Handel, gone these two 
hours past. Sev-en o’clock and a little boy lost!” 

Wrapping their warm 
shawls snugly about their 
shoulders, the good neigh- 
bors hurried to the big 
Schlamm House, just 
around the corner, where 
tall Doctor Handel stood 
at the window, his long hair 
falling over his fine white 
lace collar. 

As he peered anxiously 
into the whirling storm, 
the heavy door was flung 
open, and Mother Handel 
and Aunt Anna burst into the room. 


“We have searched everywhere, good husband, but the 
little one cannot be found,” cried Frau Handel in alarm. 

Aunt Anna shook her head sadly and a puzzled look 
came into her gentle eyes. 

“So quickly it happened,” she murmured. “There he 
was, walking quietly by my side, and the next moment, 
when I turned to him, he had vanished!” 

Suddenly from the end of Nicolai Street came sounds of 
music and there, led by a flickering torch, a band of wander- 
ing singers moved slowly along, their feet keeping time to 


As they drew nearer the Schlamm House, Mother Handel 
leaned quickly toward the window. 

“There he is — see — the little one bearing the light!” 

Father Handel looked out sternly. 

“What! The son of George Handel with a band of 
wandering singers? Surely it cannot be!” 

Aunt Anna smiled to herself as she slipped away quietly. 
So the child had loved the music and run off with the band. 
Closing the door softly, she hurried to the snowy little figure. 

“Come quickly, George. Your father is displeased with 
you for following the singers.” 

“No, Tante Anna — I must finish the song first.” 

With glowing cheeks and shining eyes, the small torch 
bearer went on with the melody until the very end, and the 
singers had moved on down the street. 

Father Handel looked seriously into the bright, eager 
face of the six-year-old boy, his fair hair shining like gold in 
the light. 

“They let me hold the torch, Father, and we sang for 
everyone in Halle ! The music was beautiful!” 

“Music! Music! Everything is music!” exclaimed Father 
Handel. “But it is not for you, my son. From this day on, 


let me hear no more of it in this household.” 

The boy was dearer to him than anything else in all the 
world. He must have every care so that some day he would 
grow up to be a fine gentleman. Music was only for wander- 
ing minstrels, who begged for food and clothing at the 


house doors of the town. His son a wandering musician? 
Never! Quietly he turned to speak with Mother Dorothea. 

“Wife, our boy thinks far too much of music and it will 
bring him no good. We must see to it that he thinks of more 
serious things, so that some day he may become a fine 

“Yes, good husband. But he is still very young and will 
soon forget about the music.” 

But as the days passed slowly by, George became more 
and more lonely, for the thing that he loved most of all had 
been taken from him. Patiently he waited for the evening 
to come, and just as the twilight faded into darkness, he ran 
to the high window to listen to the chimes in the tower near 
by, pealing their fine old chorales at the close of day. When 
the last sweet tones had faded into the night, he was happy 
again and went quietly off to bed. 

And every morning early, as soon as the first ray of sun 
lighted his little room, he ran to find Aunt Anna, to beg her 
to walk in the streets with him, for everywhere in Halle there 
was music, and he wanted to hear all of it. And besides the 
singers, there was always the fine town band that played in 
the market square on special days of the week. 

r 4 

When Sunday morning came, Aunt Anna wakened him 
earlier than usual and together they crept through the dimly 
lighted streets to the church where he could hear the organ 
high in the loft. This was the best music of all, and when the 
tones rang out through the tall golden pipes, George sat on 
the edge of his seat, listening with all his might. How he 
longed to touch the black and white keys that made the great 
pipes speak! 

But there was very little time to think about music, now 
that he was nearly seven, for the day soon came when he 
was ready to start to school. He stood before Father Handel, 
his coat neat and his fair hair brushed, ready to leave for the 
low wooden building across the village. 

Father Handel looked into the bright blue eyes that 
sparkled up at him. 

“Learn your lessons well, my son,” he said gravely. 
“They will help you to become a fine lawyer some day.” 

George liked the lessons with his kind, patient teacher. 
But the best time of all was at the end of the long afternoon, 
when Schoolmaster Praetorious sat at his small spinet to play 
his simple melodies for the boys. George stood close to the 
master, eagerly watching his flying fingers as they raced over 


the keys. 

One day, after he had finished playing, master Praetori- 
ous looked into the glowing face of his youngest pupil. 

“Perhaps you would like to try the spinet, George.” 

His wish had come true! Breathlessly seating himself at 
the small instrument, he put his short fingers on the keys 
and soon had picked out a melody of an old song that he had 
often sung to himself. Schoolmaster Praetorious stood near 
by, watching his pupil closely. Ah, this young boy had talent 
for music! 

I 7 


Racing through the streets of the village, George could 
hardly reach the Schlamm House fast enough to tell Aunt 
Anna of his great adventure. 

“If only I had a spinet, I could learn to play on it my- 
self,” he sighed longingly. 

“Some day, perhaps,” answered kind Aunt Anna, smil- 
ing as she thought of the little surprise that she had been 
keeping to herself all of these weeks. 

The days went slowly by and George worked harder at 
his lessons, for if there were no mistakes, Master Praetorious 
would let him play on his spinet. 

The sun shone brightly on the morning of his seventh 
birthday, waking George from a sound sleep. When he 
opened his eyes, there was Aunt Anna stealing softly through 
the doorway, a heavy bundle under her arm. Placing it care- 
fully beside the bed, she lifted the cover. 

“Joyous birthday, little one,” she whispered smilingly. 

“Tante Anna! A spinet for me!” gasped George, rubbing 
his eyes to make sure that he was not dreaming. Springing 
from his bed, he kneeled before the old worn instrument 
and quickly put his hands on the battered keys. 

“No, no, George! You must not play now! Come, we 


will take it where no one can hear.” 

Quietly they carried the little instrument up the long 
stairs to a far corner of the attic and carefully wound each 
string with thin strips of cloth, so that when the spinet was 
played, no sounds would reach the rooms far below. 

There, it was finished at last! Breathlessly seating himself 
in an old armchair, George played his simple tunes over and 
over again. But there was all too little time and off he ran 
down the stairs to begin the tasks of the day. 

And now, whenever there was a moment to spare, George 
hurried away to the dusty attic to spend happy hours at his 
beloved instrument. And even at night, long after everyone 
was asleep, he stole from his bed and crept up the steep stairs 
to learn the pieces in the big book that Schoolmaster Prae- 
torious had loaned to him. 

Many times there was no candle and he struggled in the 
dark to find the right keys. In the winter time it was cold and 
his fingers grew numb, but George did not mind. He was 
learning to play beautiful melodies! 

Carefully Aunt Anna watched over him and when the 
hours rolled by and still he did not come to bed, she became 
anxious. Creeping up the long attic stairs, she peered 

through the darkness, and there was the young musician in 
the dim corner, bending over the little spinet as he struggled 
to read the notes of the difficult music. 

“Come, little one. It is time that you were in bed and 

“But the pieces are not yet finished, Tante Anna. Listen, 
and I will play for you,” answered George softly, his eyes 
shining in the candle light. 


Pulling her warm shawl closer about her shoulders, Aunt 
Anna seated herself on the cold stairs and listened in amaze- 
ment to the lovely melodies, the delicate tinkling sounds 
stealing to the far corners of the old attic. How could it be 
that this boy was able to play such difficult music without 
help from anyone? 

Her heart glowed with pride as she watched the small 
musician. Surely the boy would do something in the world 
some day, she said to herself. 

One evening in early spring, when Aunt Anna had left 
the Schlamm House on an errand for Mother Dorothea, 
Father Handel walked through the house in search of his 

“George! George!” he called through the long hallway. 
But there was no answer. 

Lighting a candle, he mounted the stairs, but George 
could not be found. Suddenly he paused to listen. Surely he 
heard sounds overhead. Opening the low door, he climbed 
the stairs to the attic and there, under the low eaves, was his 
son, playing on a musical instrument! 

“George!” The stern tones rang through the attic and 
the music stopped suddenly. 


“I was just trying to play some of the pieces in the big 
book, Father.” 

“Music again! But it will bring you no good, my son, so 
the instrument must be done away with.” And putting the 
spinet under his arm, Father Handel started toward the 

“No, no, Father — the spinet is mine!” sobbed the small 
musician. “You must not take it from me!” 

Father Handel looked at the trembling little figure before 


him. He could not bear to see the boy so sad, and putting 
down the candle, he set the instrument on the rough floor. 

“Very well, my son. You shall keep the tinkling thing. 
But see to it that your noise does not disturb the peace of this 

George was never so happy. The cold and the dim light 
bothered him no longer and he played to his heart’s content. 
Many of the pieces were too difficult for his small hands, but 
each day he kept on trying until at last he had mastered them 
all. And now what fine concerts he gave Aunt Anna, making 
the old attic ring with his music! 

One morning early, the Handel household was filled with 
busy preparations, for Father Handel was going on one of 
his journeys to the court of Saxe- Weissenf els, to care for his 
many patients awaiting him there. And this time he would 
have a little visit with Cousin George, who was valet to the 

George watched eagerly. There was beautiful music at 
the royal court of Weissenf els! Quickly he ran to his father. 

“Please, sir, take me to the palace with you. I will be no 
trouble at all.” 

Father Handel fastened the last strap securely. 


George watched sadly as the carriage jolted along the 
roadway. Weissenfels! Weissenfels! The finest orchestra in 
all the country round was at Weissenfels! Suddenly his face 
brightened and springing to his feet, George started down 
the roadway, running after the carriage with all his might. 
He must go to Weissenfels, too! 

“Another time, my son. But now I must be off, for it is 
fast growing late.” 

Climbing into the carriage, he set out on the narrow 
roadway, the horses’ hoofs clattering briskly on the rough 
cobblestones as they began the long, forty-mile journey to 
the court of the Duke. 



Faster and faster his short legs flew over the ground while 
he called after the carriage at the top of his voice. The burn- 
ing rays of the sun poured down on him and the stones in 
the road cut into his feet. Clouds of dust blew into his face, 
choking and blinding him, and making him fall again and 

Slowly the time passed by and on he struggled, never tak- 
ing his eyes from the jolting carriage. At last it slowed down. 
Surely they would hear him now. Standing in the middle 
of the roadway, he called with all his might, but there was 
no answer to his cries. 

The sun was high overhead when the horses stopped at 
the side of the road to rest. Now his chance had come! For a 
moment he stood still, and then with all his strength he cried 
out through the noonday heat: 

“Father! Father! Wait — it’s George!” 

Was someone calling him in this lonely place? Slowly 
Father Handel turned to peer down the roadway. A child ! 
He watched curiously as the dusty little figure plodded up 
to the carriage. 

2 6 

What was this? His own son! Doctor Handel could not 
believe his eves. 



“Please, Father, please take me to W eissenfels with you,” 
cded the weary traveler, his tears making clean pathways 
through the dust on his face. 

Doctor Handel was sorely puzzled. What was to be done 
now? He had gone too far to send the boy back to Halle. 

“You have behaved very badly, my son. But there is 
nothing left for me to do but to take you to Weissenfels with 

“Oh thank you. Father! Thank you!” cried George, his 
eyes shining through his tears. “And I will be no trouble to 
you — no trouble at all.” Curling himself up on the hard 
seat beside his father, he fell fast asleep and did not once 
awaken until the horses stopped at the court of the Duke of 

Sounds of music greeted them when they arrived at the 
palace, and there in the courtyard were the fine musicians, 
playing for the ruler on their instruments. George listened 
with all his might and wished that he might live here forever. 


But there was all too little time to hear the music, for he was 
hurried off to the servants’ quarters to bed, and was soon fast 
asleep, the sounds of the music ringing in his ears. 

Early the next morning he was awakened by long trumpet 
calls outside his window and running to the courtyard, he 
watched the Duke and his courtiers ride off to the hunt on 
their coal-black chargers. Suddenly a voice sounded behind 

“Ah, my fine young cousin, you are up with the sun,” 
exclaimed the tall valet, laughingly. “But come with me, 
little early bird, you are just in time to visit the chapel.” 


Together they went through the finely-carved doorway 
into the beautiful little church and there, high in the loft was 
the organist, practicing the music for a special service for the 
Duke. As the lovely compositions swelled through the 
chapel, George crept closer and closer to the big pipes. 

When he had finished playing, Herr Korner turned to 
leave, and looking down, he spied the eager young admirer. 

“So, little one — and you liked the music?” 

“Oh yes, Herr Organist — you play very well, indeed.” 

Herr Korner laughed delightedly. 

“Ah, my young man, then you shall be an organist now, 
too,” he cried in fun, making room on the bench beside him. 

Putting his hands on the keys, George began to play one 
of the pieces from the big book, while the organist listened 
in amazement. Word spread quickly throughout the court 
and one by one, the members of the orchestra stole into the 
chapel to watch the seven-year-old musician. 

“An organist — and so young! He is surely a wonder 
child!” they exclaimed. 

Every morning from then on, as Father Handel cared 
for the sick people of the court, George spent happy hours 
in the chapel, listening in wonder to the music of Herr 


Korner. And always there was a little time for him to play, 

Sunday morning dawned clear and cool and the bells 
from the old tower chimed through the courtyard, calling 
the noblemen to service. George crept quietly to his place 
beside Herr Korner. But now his friend was very busy and 
paid strict attention to his playing as noble lords and ladies 
in rich silks and velvets swept into the chapel. 

Last of all came the Duke, ruler of Saxe-Weissenfels, his 
long jeweled cape sweeping behind him. 

The solemn music began and George watched closely as 
the court organist played the long service. But when it was 
nearly ended, the music stopped suddenly, and motioning 
George to the seat beside him, Herr Korner whispered 

“Play, George — from here to the end.” 

With trembling hands, but without once stopping, 
George played the last difficult measures of the service 
without a mistake. 

The Duke leaned forward in astonishment. What was 
this? A child organist in his chapel, and playing such music 
in perfect time? 

3 1 

“Bring the young musician to me at once!” he com- 

George followed the solemn page through the long aisle 
and stood wonderingly before the proud ruler. 

“Ah, my little organist, and who has taught you to play 
so well?” he asked kindly, smiling into the bright eager 
face before him. 

“No one, Sire. I just taught myself on my spinet, 


The Duke was more astonished than ever and sent at 
once for Father Handel, who hurried to the chapel, to find 
George talking eagerly to the ruler and his courtiers! 

“So, my good Doctor,” said the Duke, “I have found 
your son, here, to have great talent for music.” 

“The boy finds pleasure in strumming, Your Highness. 
But music is not for him. My son will one day become a 

As he listened to the old doctor, the Duke became more 
and more serious. 

“Herr Handel, I would gladly give all of my possessions 
for a gift as great as that of your son. I command you, sir, 
to see that this boy has the best possible training in music.” 

Turning to the delighted George, the Duke filled his 
small pocket with shining pieces of gold. 

“And some day, my little man, you may return to live 
here at the court, and play in my orchestra,” promised the 
ruler, patting the boy on the head. 

George could hardly wait to get back to Halle to tell 
Mother Handel and Aunt Anna of his exciting adventures. 
His joyous voice rang through the room. 

“And best of all, now I can learn all about music!” 


Father Handel’s quiet voice answered him at once. 

“But you must remember, my son, that music will never 
be your life’s work. It is only for wandering singers.” 

But the promise to the Duke must be strictly kept, and 
soon George was hard at work with the young organist 
and teacher, Herr Zachau, the finest musician in all the 

George was delighted with the lessons on the harpsi- 
chord and the organ. And there was the study of composi- 
tion, when he learned to write little pieces. Each week he 
surprised his teacher with music that he had composed, 
until there was no more room in the copy book. 

But the young musician was not yet satisfied. He must 
have still more work to do. 

“Very well, my industrious young pupil,” declared 
Master Zachau. “Then we will start lessons on the violin 
and the oboe, and for them you can write new melodies.” 

As the months went quickly by, Herr Zachau became 
more and more amazed at the rapid progress of the small 
musician. Nothing seemed too hard for him. Even the 
violin, which is a difficult instrument to play, was easy for 
George, and after the long lesson was over, he hurried home 


to go over the pieces again for Aunt Anna, who loved the 
concerts of the fine young player, drawing the bow so 
smoothly across the strings. 

Sometimes, when his lessons at school were finished for 
the day, George liked to steal outside the city walls to the 
salt marshes with the neighbor boys. There, hidden in the 
long grasses, he could watch the six hundred workers, 
banded together in war-like tribes, battle with each other 
to see who would be the rulers of the marsh lands. 

And there were the busy coal mines near by, where the 
men took him deep into the earth through mysterious 
dark tunnels to dig for the hard, black fuel. But best of 


But many times, as much as 
he liked to play with the neigh- 
bor boys, George would sud- 
denly feel lonely, and hurrying 
home, he would quickly play 
his music and be happy again. 

In the years that went swiftly 
by, he worked diligently with 
Master Zachau, who was so 
pleased with the work of his 
young pupil, that he tried in every way to help him. 

Besides the long and difficult task of copying the works 
of the German and Italian composers, George spent many 
hours in writing pieces of his own. Already he had com- 
posed sonatas for the spinet and the oboe and violin. 

all was playing in the old castle 
behind his house, climbing to 
the high towers and hiding 
in dark, winding stairways, to 
pounce with loud cries upon the 


More than anything else, 
George liked to play on the 
organ. But the lessons with 
Master Zachau were never long 
enough, and always he begged 
to stay on in the church where 
he could be alone with the in- 
strument. Then what fun it was 
to see in how many ways he 
could play the same piece 
of music, sending the melody 
thundering through the aisles! 

One morning, after a long 
lesson, Master Zachau turned 
to his eleven-year-old pupil. 
“At last you are ready, George. Tomorrow you will take 
my place in the church and play for the early service.” 

“Oh, Master Zachau,— if only I can play the music well 
enough!” cried the young organist. Turning at once to the 
instrument, he went over and over parts of the mass that he 
was to play on the following morning. 

Early the next day, long before the sun was up, he 


hurried with Aunt Anna through the cold streets to the 

“Now you will be the audience and I will play for you, 
Mistress Anna,” cried the young organist, and seating him- 
self on the high bench, he put his hands on the keys and the 
music swelled through the dimly lighted building. 

One piece after another flowed through the great pipes 
and George forgot everything about him as he played on 
and on. The people, coming into the church, looked up in 
amazement to see the young boy, high in the organ loft, 
playing a concert at six o’clock in the morning. And what 
beautiful music it was! 

Master Zachau, walking quietly through the tall doors, 
could not believe his ears. A concert at daybreak! He 
hurried to the organ to find his young pupil playing a 
sprightly dancing melody, his eyes glowing with delight. 

“George! George!” he whispered, “It is time for the 
solemn mass. Find the music quickly and begin at once!” 

“Yes, yes sir,” answered the young musician, looking 
around in surprise at the well-filled church. 

But there was no need to find the music, for George had 
learned it all by heart, and at once the solemn music began. 


Master Zachau, seated on the bench below, watched in 
astonishment. To play this difficult music without once 
looking at the notes! 

Yes, the time had come for the boy to listen to other 
masters of music, for he had taught him all that he knew. 
When the long service was over, he went again to the loft. 

“I am well pleased with what you have done this day, 
my pupil. It is time, now, for you to travel to Berlin, where 
you will hear the great musicians and composers, Ariosti 
and Buononcini, who are playing at the royal court.” 

George could not believe the words that rang in his ears. 
To go to Berlin, the court of the proud rulers! But suddenly 
he grew serious. 

“But my father, Herr Zachau, — surely he will not allow 
me to go away from home to hear the great masters of 

“I, too, have thought of that, my boy. We will go and 
speak to him at once.” 

Together they went through the streets to the Schlamm 
House and quietly Herr Zachau told his plan to Doctor 
Handel, who watched the eager face of his son as he listened 
to the earnest young master. Yes, perhaps the journey 


would be good for the boy, who would learn at last that his 
music was only in fun. 

“Very well, George. You may go to the court to hear 
the players. But you must return quickly and begin to work 
harder than ever at your studies, so that some day you may 
become a fine lawyer.” 

George was overjoyed at the good news and could 
hardly wait for the day to come when he would start off 
for the bustling city of Berlin, to hear the music of the noted 
masters at the royal court of the Elector. 



The good folk of Halle were still sound asleep in their snug 
thatched-roof houses, for the spring morning was dark and 
chill and not even a ray of sunlight had yet come to warm 
the narrow streets of the little village. 

All but in the Handel household, where everyone 
was bustling with last-minute preparations, for soon it 
would be time for George to start off on his long journey to 
Berlin. He had been up since daybreak, dressed in his best 
red traveling coat. Now and then he rushed off to see if the 
coach had arrived, and hurried back to watch Aunt Anna 
as she busied herself in the warm kitchen, preparing a good 
hearty breakfast for her hungry family. 

Just as George finished the last hot sausage, the clatter 
of horses’ hoofs sounded on the sharp cobblestones outside. 

“The coach is here, Mother!” he cried, running to the 
high window overlooking the street. 


Yes, there was the carriage, drawn by four strong horses, 
and rushing from the doorway, George climbed into the 
front seat, calling a cheery good morning to jolly Herr 
Schlegel, the good friend of Father Handel, who was 
on his way to Berlin and had promised to take the boy 
with him. 

Mother Handel, in her thick woolen shawl, hurried 
from the house with a large basket of lunch and handed it 
to the driver. Looking into the carriage to see that all was 
well, she smoothed the warm blanket at the back, and pat- 
ting George on the head, smiled into the merry blue eyes. 

“Be sure to stay close to Herr Schlegel, and do all that 
he bids you,” she cautioned earnestly. 

“And return to us quickly, my son,” added Father 
Handel, looking into the glowing face of the boy whom 
he loved more than anything else in all the world. 

With a crack of the whip they were off, and leaning from 
the window, George waved his bright scarf with all his 

“Good-by! Good-by!” he called happily, as the horses 
rounded the corner and galloped onto the long, long road 
leading to Berlin. 

44 - 

Herr Schlegel looked solemnly at his excited young 

“So, my fine gentleman, and are you traveling far on 
this fine spring morning?” he asked jokingly, a merry 
twinkle in his eye. 

“Oh no, Your Honor — just around the corner to 
Berlin,” responded George quickly, and the two laughed 
heartily together. 

Even though the windows were tightly closed, the sharp 
wind whistled its way through the cracks and it grew very 
cold in the carriage. But George did not mind. He was off 
on a great adventure — to hear the music of the celebrated 
masters, Ariosti and Buononcini, at the Court of the Elector. 

Tapping a merry dance on the floor of the coach, he 
sang a jolly tune at the top of his voice, Herr Schlegel com- 
ing in now and then in his deep bass voice. On and on 
rumbled the happy travelers over the rough, muddy roads 
and at last, after ten long days of traveling, they arrived in 
the city of Berlin. 

George looked eagerly around him. How tall the build- 
ings were, and what crowds of people filled the streets! 

But there could be no rest, for George could think of 


nothing but the music at the palace and before long he was 
on his way, and soon arrived at the splendid Court of the 
Elector, where a concert had already begun. 

There, on a raised platform, were the ruler and the 
Electress with their royal guests, listening to the music of 
their noted composer, Buononcini. 

George stood close to the door, his eyes wide with 
wonder. Never had he heard such playing before. The 
glorious compositions swept over him, filling him with the 


greatest joy, and when the last piece was ended, he joined 
heartily in the waves of applause and bravos that rang 
through the beautiful room. 

Buononcini, in fine court costume of rich velvet and 
costly lace, bowed to the delighted people, and when the 
hall was quiet, he began to speak. 


“Your Royal Highnesses, Lords 
and Ladies of the Court, I should 
like to challenge someone to a 
musical contest. If there is one 
among you who is ready to accept, 
let him take his place beside me 

George looked eagerly about him, but there was deep 
silence. Was there no one to enter the contest? Then he, 
himself, must answer the challenge. Leaving his place 
quietly, he walked slowly to the front of the room and 
bowed to the astonished composer. 

“I would like to enter the contest, sir.” 

Buononcini smiled with amusement at the young boy 
in dusty traveling costume. 

“I trust that you are a musician, young man. But soon 
we shall see. Ariosti, here, will give us a theme and from it 
we will each compose a piece of music. I will begin and 
you will follow me.” 

From his place of honor, Ariosti played a difficult 
melody, and seating himself at the harpsichord, Buononcini 
wove a composition from the little theme. When he had 


finished, there was a round of applause from the excited 
audience. The dignified master bowed his thanks and 
turned to George. 

“And now it is your turn, young man. Let us see what 
you can do with the theme.” 

The people leaned forward in their chairs to watch the 
small musician, seated at the beautiful instrument. In a mo- 
ment his fingers were flying over the keys, one lovely varia- 
tion after another weaving a magic spell over the vast 

The Electress Charlotte, herself a fine musician, eagerly 
watched the young player, his fair head shining in the light. 
Who was this lad with such rare talent? Surely he did not 
come from Berlin. 

Buononcini listened angrily to the brilliant playing, a 
scowl of rage on his proud face. Someone had played a trick 
on him! Very well, then, he would teach this country boy 
a lesson that he would not soon forget. When the last varia- 
tion thundered through the hall and cries of astonishment 
broke from the excited people, he turned sharply to the 
young musician. 

“Ah, my brave stranger, I can see that you are a musician. 


But the contest has only begun. Tomorrow we shall meet 
again, when another test will be presented to you. Good 
day, young sir,” and bowing stiffly, the master left the room. 

Laughingly the Electress Charlotte turned to her royal 

“Poor Buononcini! He cannot bear a rival. Tomorrow 
we shall see some fine sport, for never will our great master 
allow the boy to surpass him.” 

Word of the power of the young George Handel sped 
quickly throughout the court, and on the following day, 

long before the appointed hour, the hall was crowded to the 
doors with an excited audience, eager to catch the first 
glimpse of the boy musician. 

Suddenly a long trumpet call sounded through the royal 
chamber and while the Elector and Electress with their 
royal courtiers took their places, the people stood to honor 
their good rulers. 

George sat on the edge of his chair beside Ariosti, his 
cheeks flushed and his eyes bright as he watched the stately 
procession, rich costumes and costly jewels shining under 

the crystal chandeliers. Soon he would be playing for this 
noble company! 

At last all was quiet and from a side door came Buonon- 
cini, a pleased smile on his face. Under his arm he carried a 
large book, and bowing to the assembled company, he spoke 

“We are now ready to test the powers of the young man 


who played for us yesterday. Here in this book is a composi- 
tion that I have just composed. I assure you that not only 
will it test the powers of this young man, but it would chal- 
lenge any living musician.” 

What could the music be? Curiously George sat at the 
harpsichord and opened the book. Before him was the most 
difficult composition that he had ever seen. It was a severe 
test, indeed! 

Buononcini smiled as he watched the boy. Surely he 
would not even try to play the music. 

Taking a deep breath, George sat up suddenly and the 
audience watched in astonishment as he began the long, dif- 
ficult work. Soon his fingers were flying over the keys, and 
from the beginning until the end, he played the music with- 
out a single mistake. 

The people were astounded and rising to their feet, their 
cheers rang through the great hall. 

“Bravo, young musician! Bravo! Bravo!” 

At once a royal page at his side commanded George to 
follow him, and in a moment, the young musician was stand- 
ing before the rulers of Berlin, his fair head bowed low. In 
warm tones, the Elector spoke to him. 


George answered with a bright smile. 

“Oh, thank you, Your Highness. But that could never 
be, for my father does not wish me to become a musician.” 

Princess Charlotte stamped her foot impatiently and her 
dark eyes flashed with displeasure. 

“Boy, royal commands are meant to be obeyed. We will 
send word to your father at once.” 

A kindly smile lighted the face of the Elector. 

“Young Handel, it would mean much to us to have you 
here. And we would send you to Italy, where you would 
study with the greatest masters, so that one day you would 
become the finest musician in all the world.” 

George listened in wonder. To spend the rest of his life 
in music! But that was too good to be true. 

Word was sent by fastest messenger to Halle, and while 
he waited for an answer, George spent long, happy days at 
the court, where honors and costly presents were showered 
upon him by the members of the royal company. 

But the best time of all was in the early morning, when, 
with a special guard beside him, he rode to the hunt on a coal 
black charger. In the evening, after the fine dinner was over, 
he played for the royal family and the eager visitors who 


crowded to the concert hall to listen to the boy wonder. 
Already his fame had spread throughout Berlin, until the 
name of George Handel was spoken everywhere. 

At last, one morning early, after he had returned from 
the hunt, word came from Father Handel ordering George 
home at once. Sadly putting his few belongings and his new 
treasures into the coach, he set out with Herr Schlegel, a 
heavy purse of gold from the royal rulers tucked safely away 
in his pocket. 

The February snow filled all the roadways and it was bit- 
terly cold in the carriage. As the horses stumbled on through 
the great drifts with their precious burden, George and Herr 
Schlegel told funny jokes and stories to pass away the long 

At last, after many weary days of traveling, the little roof 
tops of Halle could be seen, poking their heads out of the 
white mounds of snow. 

“We are home, Herr Schlegel! Home! Home! Home!” 
shouted George. And leaping from the carriage he bounded 
into the warm Schlamm House. But Mother Handel hur- 
ried to meet him, her finger to her lips. 


“Hush, George! Your father is very ill. He is waiting for 
you now.” 

Quietly George crept into the sick room and at once, 
a smile of joy lighted his father’s face at sight of his beloved 

“How good it is to see you safely at home again, my boy! 
And to think that they might have made a musician of you!” 

Very soon afterward, Father Handel died, and George 
was very sad. There was little money now and eagerly he set 
out to earn a living for Mother Handel, Aunt Anna, and the 
two little sisters. 

At once he went to Master Zachau, who helped his pupil 
in every way that he could, arranging concerts for him to 
play at the homes of noble families, and letting the boy take 
his place at the organ in the church whenever he was away 
from Halle. 

There was very little time for composing, but whenever 
there was a minute to spare, George wrote the melodies that 
poured into his mind and hurried with them to the master, 
who was delighted with the new compositions, especially 
this little minuet that perhaps you, too, can play. 





Sometimes, when there were holidays at the Latin 
School, George called his classmates together and off they 
went to the Schlamm House for music. 

“Play for us, George! Play for us!” cried the boys, open- 
ing the book of music on the clavier. 

“Not until we have finished with the singing,” declared 
the young master, handing the boys freshly-written sheets 
of music that he had just composed. 

Always the singers liked the new songs and sang them 
lustily. They were very proud of their young leader, even 
though he was very strict with them and scolded them 
soundly when they did not pay good attention. Sometimes, 


when they worked hard enough, George allowed them to 
sing in the little church on Sunday, when he was the organist 
for Herr Zachau. 

In the years that went swiftly by, George grew to be a 
tall, handsome young man, loved by everyone in Halle. Now 
he was hard at work at the University, where some day he 
would become a lawyer, as Father Handel had wished. But 
always his mind was filled with melodies and he longed to 
spend all of his time in music. 

Throughout the years, he had never stopped working 
with Master Zachau, and now he was a fine musician, indeed. 
Already he was known far beyond Halle for his playing and 
composing, and how happy he was when he was asked to 
give still more concerts at the homes of noblemen! Now he 
would be able to take even better care of his dear ones. 

One Sunday morning, after he had finished playing the 
service in the church for Master Zachau, he turned to leave 
the organ loft and there, waiting for him, was a little band 
of solemn-faced men. The leader came to meet him. 

“Herr Handel, we have been sent from the Council of 
Halle to ask you to accept the position of organist and choir 
director at the Cathedral for one year, for the sum that we 
have to offer you.” 60 

To have a real music position at last! George could 
hardly believe the words that rang in his ears. Breathlessly 
he gave his answer to the elders. 

“Oh, thank you, sirs! I will be glad to accept your kind 
offer, and I hope that my services will please you.” 

He could hardly wait to reach home to tell of his good 
fortune, and rushing through the streets, he burst into the 
house, his heart pounding for joy. 

“Mother! Aunt Anna! The most wonderful thing in the 
world has happened!” 

The little family gathered around him in wonderment. 

“Come, come, George!” laughed his mother. “Tell us 
what has happened.” 

“Good luck has come to us all! Iam to be the organist and 
choir director in the Halle Cathedral!” 

Mother Handel looked with pride at her tall, seventeen- 
year-old son. 

“It is indeed good fortune that you bring to us, George, 
and well you deserve the honor that has come to you.” 

Faithful Aunt Anna smoothed her white apron, her cap 
nodding joyously, while the two younger sisters danced 
around the room, chanting solemnly: 

“George Frederic Han-del, Organist and Choir Master, 
Organist and Choir Master, George Frederic Han-del.” 

But there was hard work to be done before the next Sun- 
day arrived, and every morning early, even before the sun 
was up, George hurried off to the Cathedral to spend hours 
at the organ. 

It was cold in the stone church and very little light came 
from the high dim windows, but the practicing must be done, 
for all too soon it would be time to leave for his lessons at 
the University. 


The week went swiftly by and when Sunday morning 
came, George awakened with a start. It must be time for the 
early service! Hurrying through the streets to the church, 
he looked anxiously about him. 

Yes, all was in order, with the singers in their places, their 
costumes neat and the music ready. When the last chimes 
pealed from the old bell tower, the solemn leaders and the 
people of Halle entered the Cathedral, and putting his hands 
on the keys, George began to play. 

As the stately music swelled through the church, the 
people listened in wonder, looking closely at the new young 
organist, sitting so straight and tall, high in the organ loft. 

“Why — it is our own George Handel! And how well 
he plays — even better than Master Zachau!” they whispered 
to each other. 

But George thought only of the music and watched the 
notes carefully, so that there would be no mistakes on this 
special morning. The boys of the choir followed their leader 
closely and sang the music that George had written for them 
so beautifully that the people were pleased, indeed. 

Never before had they heard such lovely melody in their 
Cathedral, and they were happy that George Frederic Han- 


del was to be their director for many long months to come. 

As the proud little family walked home together, George 
declared solemnly: 

“From this day on, I will give up my studies at the Uni- 
versity and spend the rest of my life in music.” 

“Perhaps it is well, my son,” answered Mother Handel 
thoughtfully. “Surely you will know what is best for you 
to do.” 

There was a fine celebration dinner in the old Schlamm 
House, and when it was finished, George hurried into the 
little back room, for he was so joyous, he must put down the 
two delightful little French dances that had come into his 

And how you will enjoy playing this gavotte and passe- 



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“There, finished at last ! 55 exclaimed George, turning 
from the little spinet to find Aunt Anna waiting anxiously. 

“And in time, too , 55 laughed the happy cook, “Or my 
fine supper for Master Handel would soon be finished !” And 
hurrying to the warm kitchen, she brought a steaming bowl 
of soup and hot crusty bread, fresh from the oven, for the 
hungry composer. 

The months went quickly by, and even though his duties 
in the church became ever more difficult, George was never 
so happy, for all of his time was spent in music. 

And besides his work in the Cathedral, he was asked to 
direct the music in all seven of the churches of Halle! This 
was a task, indeed, for special compositions must be written 
for each of them and soon there was not a moment to spare 
from early morning until late at night. 

But at last the year came to an end and George was 
delighted when the leaders of the Cathedral came to tell him 
of the pleasure his music had given to the people of Halle. 

“And we would like to have you stay on with us for 
still another year, Herr Handel, to direct the music in our 
churches . 55 

George smiled happily at the honor that had come to him. 


“Thank you, sirs, but I cannot go on with the work here, 
for I have decided to leave my home in Halle,” he answered. 

Mother Handel and Aunt Anna were much upset at the 

“But there is nothing left for me here in Halle, for I have 
learned all that I can,” explained George. “Now I must go 
to Hamburg and find something to do in that city of music.” 

Taking a small purse from her apron, Mother Handel 
put it into the hand of her son. 

“There is very little money, my boy, but it will help you 
to live until you can find something to do. For long months 
now I have been saving it for just such a time as this.” 

George shook his head thoughtfully, and then slipped 
the little purse into his pocket. 

“For a little time I will use it, but soon you shall have it 
back again, and with much more, besides.” 

It was not long before all was ready, and with a song in 
his heart, George started out in the coach in the crisp early 
morning, to seek his fortune in the great city of Hamburg. 


The sun was high overhead when the old coach rattled into 
Hamburg. Clicketty-clack, Clicketty-clack, rang the 
wheels on the rough streets, and pressing his face against 
the dingy window, George looked with glowing eyes at the 
bustling city. 

Before the wheels had stopped turning, he sprang to the 
ground, sniffing the air hungrily to make sure that he was 
really in Hamburg, the city of adventure. 

“Your bags, young traveler,” called the driver in a sing- 
song voice. Then, looking sharply at George, he added 
quietly, “Pretty big place for a young man like you. Better 
have a look around and go back to Halle with me.” 

Looking up with a merry smile, George nodded brightly. 

“Thank you, driver, but Hamburg is my home from now 


Grasping his bundles firmly, he started happily down the 
street. What did it matter if he had little money in his pocket 
and knew no one in all the strange city ? He was in Hamburg, 
where great adventures awaited him! 

It was not long before he had found himself a small room, 
and carefully locking the door on his few possessions, he 
set out to explore the city of music. He had not gone far 
when his eye fell upon a small sign : 

Wanted at once — Violinist for Orchestra 
Opera House — Director Keiser. 

A real position, and when he needed one so badly ! Surely 
luck was with him. Hurrying back to his room, George 
seized his violin, and finding his way to the opera house, 
knocked gently on the door marked DIRECTOR. At once 
a brisk voice answered him. 

“Yes, yes. Come in!” 

The busy Herr Keiser looked up from his music writing, 
and seeing the violin case, nodded his bushy head. 

“Then you are a violinist? Good. Come this afternoon, 
and if you can play the orchestra music, you may stay on 
with the men. Good day, young man.” 


George walked about the streets, his heart pounding for 
joy, and long before it was time, he was back again at the 
opera house and eagerly took his place with the men of the 
orchestra. And now if only he could play the music well 
enough ! Carefully he watched the director and went through 
his part without a single mistake. 

It was decided at once that he would stay on to play with 
the men, and George could hardly believe the good fortune 
that had come to him so quickly. 


The men of the orchestra, who sat near him, were very 
kind to the new violinist and as the months went quickly by, 
they became very proud of the young musician from Halle. 

George liked to play the tuneful melodies of the opera. 
And what fun it was to watch the singers on the stage, acting 
the story as they sang their parts. But when it was time to 
play, he paid the strictest attention to the music and did 
not once look up from the notes. 

One afternoon, as he took his place in the orchestra, his 
eyes twinkled with mischief. He would play a little joke 
on his companions! As the conductor nodded his head and 
the music began, George stumbled in his part. Quickly the 
man at his side pointed to the place, but no sooner had he 
started again, than his bow fell to the floor. 

Throughout the long rehearsal and for many days, 
George played badly, and at last the men became very 
annoyed and spoke to him crossly. 

“What is wrong with you, Handel? Have you forgotten 
how to play on your instrument?” 

George looked at them helplessly. 

“Why, you see — the music was new — and so difficult!” 

One day, not long afterward, the conductor was ill and 


there was no one to lead the men. As the members ol the 
orchestra began to put away their instruments, a sudden 
thought raced into George’s mind, and walking swiftly to 
the front of the hall, he seated himself in the conductor’s 
place at the clavichord. 

Putting his hands on the keys, he played a sudden sharp 
chord, bringing the men to attention at once. With bright 
blue eyes flashing, he crisply gave his orders. 

“Gentlemen, if you will follow me, I will lead you in 
this music. Now then, we will start at the beginning, and I 
will show you how I would like the score to be played.” 

The men of the orchestra were highly amused. 

“The conductor from Halle! Now we shall have some 
sport!” they declared, laughingly. 

But George paid no attention. Running his hands 
swiftly over the keys, he played parts of the difficult score 
with such ease that the men sat up in amazement. Surely they 
had made a great mistake, for this young man was a fine 
musician, indeed! 

Taking up their instruments quickly, they followed their 
strict young leader closely. Again and again George stopped 
them to go over parts of the music and would not be satisfied 
until every note was perfect. The singers, too, worked harder 
than they had ever worked before, and when at last the long 
rehearsal was over, their cheers rang through the hall. 

“Bravo, Conductor! Bravo, Handel!” 

Of course he would lead the evening performance, as 
well, and eagerly he hurried back to the opera house, his 
shoes neatly polished and fresh ruffles in his dark blue coat. 

When all was in readiness, the lights were lowered and 
George took his place at the clavichord. T he audience leaned 
forward in surprise. A strange conductor — and so young! 
Slowly the lights came on the stage and as the curtain rose, 
the music began, the people listening closely. 


Why, this young conductor was even better than their 
own Herr Keiser! The directors, too, were surprised and 
delighted, and as the audiences grew larger with each 
performance, they went to speak with the young leader. 

“Handel, you have so pleased the people of Hamburg 
with your conducting, that we would like to offer you the 
position as leader of the opera for the rest of the year. We 
hope that you will accept, young man.” 

To be the conductor of the opera house in the great city 
of Hamburg! Breathlessly Handel gave his answer to the 
dignified directors. 

“Oh, thank you, sirs. You have brought me great honor, 
and I will be glad to go on with the work.” 

The people of Hamburg were delighted with the fine 
musician from Halle and soon pupils made their way to his 
door, begging for lessons on the clavichord. And when the 
leaders of the church of the Magdalene came to him, asking 
him to be their organist and choir director, he was happier 
than ever and played on the organ with such power, that 
people came from far and near to hear the new musician. 

One warm July day, as George sat high in the organ loft, 
busily practicing the music for the services, he heard foot- 


steps in the church behind him and turning quickly, he saw 
a smiling, handsome young man coming to greet him. 

“Handel, I am Mattheson, Johann Mattheson, and hear- 
ing your music in passing, I stopped in to listen.” 

Johann Mattheson, the brilliant singer and composer of 
Hamburg, known far and wide for his music! Eagerly the 
two young men talked together and soon they were playing 
on the organ, trying to outdo each other in making variations 
from the same little melody. 

George made up this old French dance which he called 
“Gavotte with Variations.” You must try to play it, too. And 
what fun you will have with the variations! 



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The two young musicians became close friends, and to 
his own home and the homes of all the noted musicians in 
the city, Johann took his new friend, George, who played 
everywhere on the clavichord, astounding everyone who 
heard him. 

One bright morning, as George sat in his little room, 
Mattheson burst in upon him, calling merrily, 

“An adventure awaits us, my dear Handel. Word has just 
come from Liibeck, of a fine organ position there. Shall we 
try our luck, my friend?” 

“At once! On to Liibeck!” cried Handel, gaily, and 
down the street raced the adventurers, catching the ricketty 
post just in time. 

Soon they were jogging over the bumpy roads, laughing 
and talking merrily together. When at last they arrived in 

Liibeck, they went at once to the Marienkirche where the 
director, Herr Wedderkopp, in shiny black coat, looked at 
them sharply over his spectacles. 

“Handel and Mattheson, from Hamburg. Yes, yes, I 
have heard of your playing, young sirs. Our great organist, 
Buxtehude, is fast growing old, and someone must soon take 
his place. N ow then, I will be glad to listen while you perform 
at the instrument.” 

As the noble music rang through the church, Herr Wed- 
derkopp became more and more excited. If only Buxtehude, 
himself, could be here to listen to these fine musicians! Nod- 
ding and smiling with pleasure, the short little director 
hurried to the organists. 

“Young gentlemen, you have won the position equally. 
But as we cannot use two organists, whichever of you is 
willing to marry the daughter of Buxtehude, he shall be 
given the post.” 

To marry the daughter of Buxtehude! Helplessly the 
organists looked at each other and at last Handel answered 
the director seriously. 

“Thank you, Herr Wedderkopp, but we must have time 
to consider your bargain. Good day to you, sir.” 


Leaving the cb urch, the astonished musicians left Liibeck 
with all possible speed, breathing happy sighs as the city of 
Hamburg came into view. Handel was so glad to be safely 
at home again, that he sat at his desk to write this delightful 
gavotte, which is an old French dance, and one that you, too, 
may be able to play. 



One evening, as George was on his way home, still hum- 
ming melodies from the opera that he had just conducted, 
he stopped suddenly under an old street lamp as an idea came 
to him. He had been conducting operas written by other 
composers. Why should he not write an opera of his own? 
Surely it would do no harm to try. 

Almost at once, melodies began to pour into his mind, 
and scarcely could he get home fast enough to put them 
down. From then on, whenever there was a moment to spare, 
he worked with all his might and in a few short weeks, the 
new opera, “Almira,” was finished. His first opera — at 

He could hardly wait to show the freshly written sheets 
to Mattheson. 

“But Handel, this is a beautiful work!” cried his friend, 
humming bits of the music. “We must produce it at once!” 

George smiled happily. 

“And you, my friend, will sing the leading part!” 

Joyously they left for the opera house and on the very next 
day the rehearsals began. In just one week, “Almira” was 
ready, and breathlessly Handel watched the audience slowly 
enter the hall, ready to listen to his new opera! 


The music began and the people watched eagerly as the 
beautiful work went on. Why, this was a fine opera, indeed, 
and written by their own young conductor! When the cur- 
tain went down and the applause rained upon him, Handel 
turned to face the excited audience, bowing his thanks again 
and again. 

For many nights George conducted his new work for 
the delighted people of Hamburg, until time for the opera 
house to close. 

And now he was free to play in concerts and George 
spent many happy evenings with the finest musicians in 
Hamburg. He was now the leading harpsichord player in 
all the city, and wherever he performed, the Italian Prince 
Medici went to hear him, and the two became good friends. 

Prince Medici played with great skill on the flute, and 
George loved to listen to the liquid notes rippling from the 
shining silver pipe. One evening, after the last delicate tones 
had died away, he turned with glowing eyes to his friend. 

“The music was beautiful, Prince Medici!” 

“Ah, my good Handel, from such a great musician, that 
is praise, indeed. And each time that I hear your music, I 
long to have you share your playing with the people of my 


country. Why not go to Italy for a little visit, my friend?” 

“Some day, perhaps,” answered George quietly, “for I 
have wished to go to your beautiful country for many long 

Italy — land of music and merry-hearted people! All 
that night George dreamed of nothing else, and when the 
dawn stole in at the window, he awoke, resolved to start off 
as soon as possible. In a short time all was arranged, and 
joyously packing a few belongings, George hastily boarded 
the post and clattered away from Hamburg. At last he was 
on his way to Italy! 

When he arrived in Florence, the beautiful City of 
Flowers, he went at once to the fine palace of the royal Prince 
Ferdinand, who greeted him warmly. 

“My brother in Hamburg has told me of your coming 
and I am glad to welcome you to our country, Herr Handel. 
If you are not over-weary with journeying, I should be 
happy if you would play for my guests.” 

At once the dusty traveler was led to a fine suite of rooms 
overlooking a stately garden, with long lines of cypress trees 
and masses of delicate blooms. It was all like a beautiful 


Suddenly there was a low knock at the door and a servant 
entered, bearing a gift from the prince — a fine costume of 
deep red velvet, richly embroidered in gold, with hand- 
wrought shoe buckles of shining silver! Hurriedly dressing 
nimself in the handsome court dress, Handel made his way 
down the great staircase to the music room, lighted by 
glistening crystal chandeliers. 

At once, a page in scarlet uniform announced the guest 
to the royal company. 

“Prince Ferdinand presents to you with pleasure, the 
noted composer, George Frederic Handel.” 

As George took his place at the beautiful clavichord, 

sitting straight and tall and with head erect, all eyes were 
upon him. This handsome young man looked like a royal 
prince, indeed. 

But in a moment, George had forgotten everything but 
his music, and running his fingers lightly over the keys, he 
began to play this little gigue that he had composed. 

Can you play the music, too, and in a lively manner? 



As the music went on, a rustle of excitement passed over 
the assembled company, and as the playing became ever 
more brilliant, the audience could be still no longer, and 
broke into excited applause. 

“Bravo, Saxon! Bravo! Bravo!” 

There was all of Italy yet to be seen, and in a few days 
George said good-by to the kind prince and eagerly made 
his way to Rome and Venice, playing on the organ in the 
churches there, astounding all who came to hear him. Soon 
his fame had spread far and wide and the name of Handel 
was spoken everywhere. 

One evening, as the moon flooded the long canals of 
Venice with silvery light, George drifted along in a gondola, 
enjoying the singing of the old gondolier behind him, when 
suddenly they came to a palace. There, under the soft 
lights, crowds of merrymakers were dancing on the highly 
polished floors, their laughing eyes hidden by narrow black 

He must get closer to the music, and stepping ashore, 
Handel stood on the palace steps, eagerly watching the 
bright whirling costumes and listening to the tuneful 

9 1 

Suddenly the music stopped and in the long pause that 
followed, a tall masked figure moved slowly through the 
ballroom to the harpsichord, and seating himself, began to 

Strong, ringing chords startled the merrymakers and at 
once they crowded around to listen. Then came swiftly 
running passages, the fingers of the player racing over the 
keys with such power that the excited revelers broke into a 
round of applause. 

“Bravo, Stranger! Bravo, Musician!” 

The handsome young Scarlatti, noted Italian composer, 
was startled at the sounds. Who was this man, playing as no 
on e in Italy had ever played before? Pushing his way through 
the crowd, he grasped the shoulder of the stranger, crying, 

“You are either the Saxon or the Devil! Unmask, sir!” 
With delighted cries, the crowd pressed closer, and pull- 
ing the black cloth from his eyes, Handel laughed merrily. 

“The Saxon! The Saxon!” cried the revelers, and would 
not go on with their dancing until he had played for them 


From that moment on, Handel and Scarlatti became 
close friends, traveling from one lovely Italian city to an- 
other, giving concerts, conducting, and composing. With 
so much music everywhere, the melodies would not stop 
coming, and cantatas, songs, pieces for instruments, and an 
opera, came from Handel’s pen. 

This delightful vivace of his you will want to try at once. 







Everywhere gifts and honors were showered upon 
Handel and his name rang through the countryside. If only 
he could. stay forever in this land of music! But he must earn 
his living, and all the fame and honor in Italy would not do 
that for him. 

There were many times now when he went without food 
to save the little money that was left, and sadly he knew that 
there was nothing left for him to do but to go back to 
Hamburg and begin the dreary work of teaching his pupils 

One evening in Venice, when he was conducting his 
opera for the last time, the Prince of Hanover, seated in a 
box near the stage, leaned forward in keen interest. Here 
was a fine musician, indeed — and a composer, as well! He 
must speak to this young man at once. 

When the curtain was lowered and the last beautiful 
melody had been played for the delighted audience, the 
Prince sent his special messenger to the stage, asking Handel 
to speak with him in his box. In a few moments, the happy 
composer stood before the proud ruler. 

“ Y our conducting has pleased me very much, Herr Han- 
del. I would be glad if you would return to Hanover with 


me to take charge of the music at my court.” 

Handel’s eyes brightened with pleasure. This would be 
a new adventure, and besides, he would have a real position, 
when he needed one so badly. 

“Thank you, Your Highness,” he answered, bowing 
low. “I will be glad to accept your kind offer.” 

Bidding good-by to his kind friend, Scarlatti, Handel 
left for the royal court of the Prince, where he was soon 
at work directing the fine group of players, who eagerly 
followed their strict young conductor. 


But as the months went slowly by, a great longing came 
over Handel to go traveling again. He would like to go to 
England, for many invitations had come to him from the 
people there, asking him to play for them in their country. 
There was only one thing for him to do. He must speak to 
the Prince at once. 

“Y our Highness, I beg permission to leave the court for 
a little time, for I must go to England.” 

“England!” exclaimed the prince, his wig trembling with 
anger as he rapped on the ground with his gold-headed cane. 
“But I cannot spare you, Handel. There is no one now but 
you, who can please me with music.” 

Then, looking sharply into the determined blue eyes of 
his young conductor, the prince nodded slowly. 

“Very well, then — you shall go. But see to it that you 
return to us shortly!” 

To be free again! With all speed, Handel made himself 
ready and was soon on his way in the lumbering coach — 
off to the beautiful country of England! 




A thick blanket of fog had crept from the quiet hills into 
the lowlands, settling over all the countryside, swallowing 
the trees, the houses, and even the roadway as Handel 
watched from the coach window. Now and then he could 
hear the driver, urging the horses on through the gray cur- 
tain, step by step, mile after mile of the last lap of the journey 
from Hanover to the sea. 

“Steady, Bess. Easy there, Tom. Scared of a little mist? 
But there’s nothing to hurt you, my beauties.” 

It was late at night when they drew up at the old harbor 
inn that loomed suddenly out of the heavy fog. Sliding down 
from the high seat, the driver patted the horses kindly, and 
poking his head into the carriage, he called cheerily, 

“Here we are, sir. And horses about finished.” 


“A long ride, driver.” 

“Considerable, sir. Considerable.” 

Stumbling out of the dark carriage, Handel listened 
eagerly to the low surging sounds that crept up through the 
mist. He was at the sea, and in the morning he would set sail 
for England! Turning to the door of the inn, he knocked 

In a moment the great oaken door swung wide, and there 
stood the short, plump innkeeper in red flannel robe and 
nightcap, peering out into the darkness. 

“Welcome, stranger,” he cried heartily. Quickly lead- 
ing the way to the back room, he fanned the glowing logs 
into a bright flame. “Supper in a moment, sir!” 

How good it was to bask in the cheering warmth of the 
great open fire after the long ride from Hanover. Hungrily 
sniffing the round, juicy sausages, Handel watched the jolly 
innkeeper as he moved them from the flame, turning them 
now and then until at last they were done to a turn. 

Never did a simple meal taste so good, and thanking the 
innkeeper warmly, he stumbled off to bed and was soon fast 
asleep, the wash of the ocean sounding in his ears. 


All too soon the gray morning light found its way 
through the small porthole window, waking Handel with a 
start. It must be midmorning, and time for the boat to set sail 
for England! 


It did not take him long to make himself ready, and 
hurrying to the landing, he looked out at the shining water 
where the little vessel lay in the sun, waiting calmly for her 

Joyously going aboard, Handel looked around in sur- 
prise. But where were the other voyagers? Only a few sailors 
were about, busily scrubbing the decks in the slanting rays 
of the sun. Looking up from his work, one of the men smiled 
to see a passenger, ready to set sail at sunup! 

“Rather early to be about, sir.” 

“But Pm on my way to England !” 

“Ship won’t be sailing for a few hours, sir. Better go 
below and find a good place to sleep.” 

“Thank you, sailor.” 

But the time sped quickly by and when the few passengers 
were aboard, the gong sounded with a sharp clang and the 
little vessel headed out to sea, ploughing sturdily through the 
choppy waters. 

Handel had never seen the ocean before and he leaned 
far over the railing where the spray could dash against his 
face and he could taste the salty brine on his lips. 


As the hours rolled by, he wished that the voyage could 
go on and on, but in the distance was the shore, and soon it 
was time to land. 

London at lastl Y es, it was all as he had imagined it to be, 
with Westminster Abbey, old London Bridge, and Big Ben, 
booming the hour with measured stroke from the high clock 
tower overlooking the town. 


But there was little time to enjoy the city, for as soon 
as it became known that the famous composer, Handel, was 
in London, invitations came to his door, begging him to 
conduct one of his operas for the people. 

He would write them a new composition instead, and 
shutting himself away, Handel thought of nothing but the 
work before him, and in just two short weeks, the new opera, 
“Rinaldo” was completed. Tt was so filled with pure, glow- 
ing melody, it is no wonder that when it was given for 
the large, eager audience, rousing cheers rang throughout 
Queen’s Hall. 

“Bravo! Handel! Handel! Handel!” 

In one night the opera became famous, and all London 
crowded to the theater in chairs and carriages, from dark 
lanes and byways, to hear the beautiful work. The name of 
Handel was spoken everywhere, and so many invitations 
came to his door to play in homes and churches and concert 
halls, that the master could only shake his head in wonder. 

He liked the friendly English people and longed to make 
London his home. But there was little hope of his wish com- 
ing true, with the Prince of Hanover expecting him to return 
to his court very soon. 

But Handel could not go yet — not when there was so 
much for him to do in the English capital. The weeks 
stretched into months and still he was too busy to leave. 

One morning, as he sat at his work, a little group of 
dignified Englishmen stood at his door. 

“Herr Handel, we have come to you in the name of our 
good Queen, who requests that you write a composition for 
the celebration of England’s new peace treaty.” 

Handel listened breathlessly. This was a great honor, 

“Thank you, gentlemen. I will be happy to carry out the 
wishes of the Queen of England.” 

Joyously Handel began the work and when the composi- 
tion was finished, he sat at the organ in the vast St. PauPs 
Cathedral to lead the strong, stirring music before the many 
notables gathered there. 

Queen Anne was so pleased with the service that Handel 
had rendered to England that the very next morning she sent 
a special messenger to his door with a heavy purse of gold 
and the promise that for every year spent in England, the 
composer would receive the sum of two hundred pounds. 

Handel was overjoyed at his good fortune. Never had he 
been so rich before! Now he could buy himself a new coat, 
for he needed one badly. And it would be made by the finest 
tailor in all London, with the latest braiding and special gold 

But very soon afterward, the good Queen died, and word 
was speedily sent to the Prince of Hanover, asking him to 
come to London at once, to be crowned the King of 

The Prince of Hanover in England ! Handel was worried, 
indeed, for he had been away from the court of Hanover far 
too long. The new King would be very angry, and was sure 
to mete out sound punishment to his concert master. 


Suddenly an idea came to Handel. He would write some 
special music for the celebration, to serenade the new King 
on the River Thames. But there was all too little time, and 
setting to work with all his might, Handel finished the 
“Water Music” just as the special day arrived. 

Quickly gathering his little band of musicians together, 
he hurried with them to the river, anxiously waiting for the 
King to appear. Suddenly a blast of trumpets sounded near 
the water’s edge and there, leading the stately procession, 
was the new ruler, his jeweled robe shining in the moon- 
light. Making his way to the river, he slowly took his place 
in the velvet-lined barge. 

“Quickly, men!” commanded Handel softly, “Into the 
barge with your instruments!” 

Without a sound, the musicians took their places in the 
boat behind that of the King, and as the barges moved slowly 
down the river, the music began. The lovely, graceful melo- 
dies floated out over the water and a pleased smile stole over 
the face of the King. The English people had fine music in 
their country, indeed! 

The charming pieces stopped for a moment and the 
monarch raised his hand. 




“Tell the musicians to play that music again,” he com- 
manded, “and remind them not to miss a single note!” 

At last the barges docked at Chelsea, where a fine supper 
awaited the royal company, and stepping ashore, the King 
spoke to one of his courtiers. 

“Who in England has written this fine music?” 

“The noted composer Handel, Your Majesty. And he 
has conducted it especially for your pleasure.” 

“Handel! Here? Bring the rascal to me at once!” 


In a moment, Handel stood before the ruler of England. 

“I humbly beseech your gracious pardon for not return- 
ing earlier to the court of Hanover. It will not happen again, 
Your Majesty.” 

A low chuckle sounded over his head. 

So ! Then it is well that you have already chosen England 
for your country, my fine concert master. But come, come, 
Handel — all is forgiven. And now for your punishment you 
shall play your music again while the company dines.” 

Breathing a sigh of joy, Handel turned to the men, and 
never was music played with more spirit! Especially this 
“Graceful Dance” that you will be eager to hear. Hasn’t it 
a beautiful melody? 

from the Water Music 



The next morning, when a messenger arrived at Handel’s 
door bearing a scroll from the King, the composer trem- 
blingly broke the heavy gold seal. Was his real punishment 
coming at last? Opening the paper, he read the words before 

“George, King of England, hereby grants the composer, 
George Frederic Handel, the yearly sum of two hun- 
dred pounds, as long as he shall live in England, serving 
the King with his music.” 

Two hundred pounds a year! And with still another two 
hundred pounds for teaching the royal children, as well as 
the sum from Queen Anne, he would be as rich as a kingl 


And now for long years, Handel lived in London, writing 
operas and conducting them for the people. More than any 
place in all the world, Handel loved England, and the 
happiest day of his life came to him when he was made a 
citizen, which meant that from that day on, England would 
forever be his home. 

1 . Wf * nr T^. 

At the invitation of the Duke of Chandos, Handel went 
to live at his princely mansion at Edgeware, to conduct the 
fine orchestra there. One morning he decided to take a long 
walk and explore the countryside, and striding over the 
broad fields, he was just entering Cannons when a crashing 
thunderstorm broke over his head. 

The rain pounded on 
him furiously, and feeling 
his way along an old wall, 
he came to an open door- 
way. A shelter at last ! Look- 
ing up, he found himself in 
a blacksmith’s shop and 
there, before the blazing 
forge, a busy smithy in 
stout leather apron, was 
pounding on his anvil, lustily singing an old folk melody. 

With clothes dripping, Handel seated himself beside the 
glowing fire, smiling with delight as the song went on, its 
many verses seeming never to end. The lovely simple melody 
caught his fancy. Why, this tune could be made into a fine 
composition! Rising quickly, he nodded to the old smithy. 

“Thank you for your kind shelter, sir.” 

“And right welcome you are, stranger.” 

Leaving the village behind him, Handel strode over the 
fields, heartily singing the smithy’s song. Arriving at Edge- 
ware, he sat at once to write the music that had worked itself 
out in his mind. 


And now all London was astir, for the opera house that 
had been closed for so long, was to be opened again. Of 
course no one but Handel should be the conductor, and to 
the composer at Edgeware, King George sent his fastest 
messenger, bidding him leave at once for Dresden, to select 
new singers there. 

With all eagerness Handel set out in the coach, smiling 
to himself as he thought of a little surprise. He would stop in 
Halle for a visit with Mother Handel and Aunt Anna! 

How could he ever wait to get there? The miles seemed 
never to end, but at last he rumbled into the little village and 


came to the cobblestoned street where he had played as a boy. 
Leaving the carriage, he ran to the old Schlamm house, his 
cries ringing out joyously. 

“Mother! Aunt Anna!” 

Two little old ladies hurried to the doorway, their white 
caps bobbing in the sun. 

“George! At last you have come home to us! And now 
a great conductor and composer!” they went on breathlessly. 

How good it was to be with his dear ones again! But the 
time with them was all too short and soon he was on his way 
again, waving good-bys from the coach window until the 
carriage turned at the end of the street. 

Hardly had he left Halle than a stranger walked into the 
village, and stopping at the Schlamm House, rapped on the 
door with his stout cane. Perhaps George had come back 
again, thought Aunt Anna as she lifted the latch and peered 
out. But a stranger bow T ed to greet her, his black bowler hat 
under his arm. 

“My name is Sebastian Bach, and I have heard that the 
great composer, Handel, is here in Halle. I have walked from 
Leipzig to see him.” 

“From Leipzig!” exclaimed Aunt Anna, wonderingly. 


“All the way from Leipzig to see our Handel! But he is gone, 
sir. Only a few minutes ago did he leave in the coach.” 

A look of keen disappointment crossed the tired face of 
the great composer. 

“Then I must start back to Leipzig at once, for my ras- 
cally choir boys will be getting into mischief without their 
Cantor.” And putting his little bowler hat on his head, Bach 
strode away, his sturdy back disappearing at the end of the 

Through the years that went swiftly by, more than forty 
operas came from HandePs pen, besides many songs and 
works for orchestra and for special instruments, as well. As 
soon as they were finished, they were carefully copied for 
the printers by the faithful Smith, so that everywhere, the 
people could have the beautiful works of the master to play 
and sing. 

But now that he was growing older, Handel lived quietly 
in his tall stone house on Brook Street, giving concerts on 
the organ and composing. The people of London were 
always eager for new music and Handel decided to write an 
oratorio for them, music that would be performed in the 
church, with singers and chorus and an orchestra to accom- 
pany them. 122 

The early sunlight flooded the front room of the Handel 
house as the master, his red morning coat carefully in place 
and his wig neatly tied, took his place at the oval wooden 
table, well supplied with pens and fresh paper by his good 
friend, Smith. 

But the simple armchair was a bit too tight for the master, 
who was fast growing stout. Changing for a larger one, he 
smiled as melodies began to pour into his mind for his 
oratorio, the “Messiah.” 

Throughout the long day the notes flowed from his pen 
in a steady stream, and when darkness came to shut away 
the light from his paper, there was still no time for rest, for 
the music must go on. 

Quietly lighting the candle, the servant brought fresh hot 
food, but Handel took no notice. Through the long night 
hours the scratching of his pen sounded through the bare 
rooms as the master labored on, his eyes glowing with a 
strange fire as the glorious music rang through his mind. 

Then, when all London was waking to the new day, he 
took his dripping candle and climbing the broad stairs, fell 
wearily into bed. 


On the twenty-fourth day the work was finished. Never 
before had such a giant task been accomplished. Sighing 
happily, Handel put down his pen. 

“Smith! Smith!” he called. “Come quickly! My newest 
and dearest child is born.” 

The faithful copyist hurried to the master, and seeing 
tears on his cheeks, stopped in surprise. 

“Oh, Smith, such a beautiful time I have had with my 
‘Messiah . 5 The very gates of heaven seemed to open above 
me and as the music went onto the paper, choirs of angels 
with glad eyes sang the ‘Hallelujah Chorus . 5 55 

“It must be beautiful, indeed, master.” 

“You shall see, Smith, you shall see. But come now, make 
copies for the printers at once, and please, no mistakes ! 55 


“I will watch carefully,” answered the copyist, hurrying 
off to do his master’s bidding. Then, turning back, he cau- 
tioned, “And while I make the copies, you must rest from 
your music, Master Handel.” 

A burst of laughter sounded through the room. 

“Rest! But Smith — I rest only in my music!” And 
reaching for fresh paper, the master began a new oratorio ! 

A few days later, as Handel sat at his little harpsichord, 
playing a part of his new work, a messenger arrived at his 
door. Opening the carefully written scroll, Handel read: 

“The Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland humbly beseeches the 
famous English composer, George Frederic Handel, to 
grant the people of Ireland the honor of a visit to their 
country, to perform for them his noble compositions.” 

Handel looked up with a bright smile. A new adventure 
was calling him. How he did love adventures! 

“Pack at once!” he commanded. “I am off for Ireland. 
And Smith, — get word to my singers to meet me in Dublin. 
I shall need them there.” 

What a time the two servants had, getting the master 
ready! And hovering about, Handel watched the packing 
with anxious eye. 


“The ruffles, my good man — watch the ruffles! And 
that is my newest velvet coat. Handle it with great care!” 

At last the bulging bags were tied and Handel was off 
in the coach. Arriving in Chester, he made his way to the 
Golden Falcon, for heavy seas were running in the channel 
and the packet boats had long been delayed. 

This would be a good time to rehearse the chorus parts 
of the new oratorio, and from the church near by, the choir 
boys hastened to the little inn, eager to perform for the noted 

“Now then, my fine young singers, can you read this 
music at sight?” 

“Oh yes, sir.” 

“Very well,” answered Handel, giving them the sheets 
of the “Messiah.” “I will accompany you. Now then, 

Haltingly the boys started, but after a few quavering 
notes, there was dead silence. Handel looked up in amuse- 

“But you told me that you could read at sight!” 

“Oh yes, sir, but not at first sight.” 

In a few days the sea was calm enough to board the packet 


boat and soon Handel found himself in the Irish country- 
side, fresh and sparkling and green. News spread quickly of 
the arrival of the noted master, and throughout Dublin, 
honors were showered upon him and visitors crowded to his 
door, eager to catch a glimpse of the famous composer. 

At last the rehearsals for the oratorio were finished and 
the great day arrived for the performance of the “Messiah.” 

All Dublin was astir for the greatest event ever to take place 
in that city, and in order to have room enough for the people, 

a request was sent far and wide, asking, 

“The favour of the Ladies not to come with hoops this 
day to the Music Hall in Fishamble Street. The Gentle- 
men are desired to come without their swords.” 

Handel, in his fine new costume of deep green velvet, was 
pleased with the vast audience that listened wide-eyed to 
such music as had never before been heard in Dublin. They 
would never forget this day. 

At the end of a year with the warm-hearted people of 
Ireland, Handel returned to England, happier than he had 
been for many long years. The English people welcomed 
him back and at once begged him to honor them with a per- 
formance of the “Messiah” which had won such fame in 

Straight to the opera house went the tireless master and 
when all was in readiness for a performance of his greatest 
work, Handel seated himself at the organ. But as he started 
to give the signal for the music to begin, his ear caught the 
sound of whispering and down came his hand. 

“Hush! Hush!” whispered one of the royal ladies in the 
King’s box. “Can you not see? Handel is angry!” 


The audience, as well, had noticed the trembling wig of 
the master and at once there was silence. Then, putting his 
hands on the keys, Handel began to play and in awe, the 
people listened to the noble work with its triumphant 
“Hallelujah Chorus , 55 telling that the Christ would live 
forever as King of Kings and Lord of Lords. 

The King was so deeply stirred with the exultant music, 
that when the first Hallelujah rang through the hall, he rose 
to his feet and remained standing until the last note of the 
chorus echoed through the house. 


This first part of the glorious Hallelujah Chorus you may 
be able to sing while someone plays the accompaniment. 




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One day, after the master had conducted his favorite 
oratorio at the Foundling Hospital to raise funds for the 
homeless children sheltered there, he stopped on his way 
home to speak with his old friend, Lord Kinnoul. 

“Ah Handel! Handel! This “Messiah” of yours is setting 
the world on fire. It is fine entertainment, indeed!” 


“Entertainment!” exclaimed the master, his wig shaking 
violently, “I do not wish to entertain you, sir, but to make 
you better!” 

Poor Handel! His eyes that had served him so long and 
so well, began to trouble him. They smarted and ached 
whenever he tried to write and he decided to ask the King’s 
doctor to come to see him at once. Word was sent with all 
haste to the palace and soon the tall, handsome Doctor 
Taylor arrived at the house on Brook Street, examining the 
anxious master with the greatest care. 

“Ah, my good Handel,” sighed the noted doctor, “I 
must tell you that there is little that can be done for your 
trouble. I am sorry, sir.” 

A wave of deep sadness crept into the heart of the master. 
To spend the rest of his days in darkness? And not to be 
able to see to write his melodies? Then he must work at once, 
while there was yet time. 

Hurrying to the little table he seized his pen and the notes 
poured onto the paper before him. Faster, faster, while there 
was yet time! Now the music of the oratorio, “Jeptha,” 
written to Morrell’s words, was beginning to sing! 

But in the struggling days that followed, there were many 


sad times when Handel could not see. Closer and still closer 
he bent his head until his eyes were almost touching the 
paper. As the last notes came from his pen, someone entered 
the room. 

“Morrell! It is good of you to come. And see — the 
oratorio, “Jeptha,” is just finished — my music written tor 
your words. They are your best, my friend.” 

“My poor words are honored with such noble music, 
sir,” answered the little minister kindly. “And I will write 
more if you wish, and Smith, here, can take down the notes 
as you tell them to him.” 

A light of joy broke like a ray of sunshine over the face 
of the master. 

''Then I can still sing my songs for England! England — 
how I love her!” 

Through the days that went quietly by, the faithful Smith 
sat with Handel, carefully putting down the notes of a com- 
position as they came from the master’s lips. Then, when the 
work was finished, Handel listened closely as the music was 
played for him. But sadly he shook his head. 

“No, no Smith — what I long to say is not there. We will 
try again, just once more, ye£?” 


As the darkness came to shut away the last ray of light, 
the heart of the master became ever more lonely. But no 
matter how great his suffering, no one must know. Happily 
he welcomed his close friends and on calm sunny days, 
rowed with them on the river Thames, peacefully smoking 
his long pipe. 

Alone in his house at night when he could not sleep, 
Handel felt his way to his beloved harpsichord, to play in the 
stillness, parts of his music that he loved best. Softly the melo- 
dies stole to the far corners- of the little house, or marched 
triumphantly up the broad staircase, echoing in grandeur 
through the halls. 

Then, strangely comforted, he stole away to bed and to 

His concerts for the people never stopped. With head 
erect, he sat at the organ, playing his works from memory 
or making entire compositions as he went along while in 
wonder and awe, the people listened to the Father of the 
Oratorio, one of the greatest composers and organists that 
the world has ever known. 

When the last notes had died away, the audience rose to 
honor their noble musician. 


“Long live our great master! Long live our Handel!” 
echoed their cries. 

And so the little boy from the village of Halle, who loved 
music so much that he stole away at night to the attic to learn 
by himself how to play, grew to be the greatest musician of 
all England, the beloved George Frederic Handel, honored 
through his whole life long at the Court of Kings. 


And here you will find more beautiful music that Handel 
wrote : delightful minuets and gavottes and sonatinas that you 
will want to play. And how you will enjoy listening to more 
of the tuneful melodies from the “Water Music,” while 
someone plays them for you over and over again, for we can 
never hear enough of Handel’s glorious music. 





^ Andantino 






Variation II 







Un,v ER8A L